Clint Bowyer is one of the funniest guys in the Sprint Cup garage. He’s never at a loss for a joke, an impromptu ad-lib or a humorous outlook on life.
But there’s nothing funny about the fact Bowyer hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race since 2012 (when he won three times).
And even though he’s kind of in a way station in 2016 – a one-year deal with HScott Motorsports before he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace the retiring Tony Stewart – the Kansas native has big hopes for his one-off campaign with HSM.
“I want to be able to come in here and help (team owner Harry Scott Jr.) build his company to where he wants it, to where it can stand on its own two feet and be a better place than what it was when I came,” Bowyer said during Tuesday’s Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. “I think we can do that.”
Bowyer and HSM actually might be better off than some might think. The organization gets engines from Hendrick Motorsports and chassis and support from SHR.
“I think we can lean on these alliances,” Bowyer said. “Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing (are) pretty big powerhouses in this sport.
“But it’s going to be all about using those resources and alliances. If I can do that and get my foot in the door, be an asset to them, I think we can even get more in return.
“(Scott has) got good alliances. He’s got the right pieces. He’s buying the right pieces from the right people. We got to make sure that we put them together correctly and get consistent, first and foremost. Then hopefully, you know, get us a win. I want to win. It’s been a long time.”
Bowyer and HSM are kind of like the Little Engine That Could – or at least they hope to be that way. But there are some stark differences from what Bowyer has been used to through most of his career.
“There’s not the resources, the manpower that I’ve been accustomed to,” Bowyer said. “500 employees at RCR (Richard Childress Racing), 275 I think at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing).
“I think it’s 40 (employees at HSM). It’s definitely a huge difference between where I’ve been and even where I’m going next. But at the end of the day I really enjoy Harry. He’s a good guy.
“(Crew chief Steve Addington), I’ve watched him win a lot of races, have success in this sport over the years. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a year, and we’ve got to make sure we make the most out of it.”
In a sense, Bowyer finds himself in a similar situation to Kurt Busch in 2012, after the latter was released by Team Penske and joined Phoenix Racing, which Harry Scott purchased from James Finch late in the 2013 season.
“(Busch) ran good, he ran better than expectations,” Bowyer said. “He damn near beat me at Sonoma. He almost won a race.”
As a result, Bowyer thinks he can do something similar.
“I think (winning a race is) doable,” Bowyer said. “I think you can sneak in and win a race. If you could do that, that would be monumental for a team like this, in a situation like this.”
And that also means HSM would qualify for the Chase, as well.
“I do believe we could back into the Chase,” Bowyer said. “I think we could be consistent enough with some of my things that I’ve done over the years.
“Consistency has been one of my strong points. If we can get the cars close enough where you’re not having to drive over the capabilities to get the job done.
“You’ve just got to be solid week in and week out. You’ve got to build a platform. These guys have certainly not ran the way they want to run. That’s why Harry chose to do this and put me in it.
“I need to have a good year. … I need to get back up front and running good. I don’t like running bad. I’m in this sport. This isn’t just a job. I can get a job anywhere. I have a (car) dealership if I want to go to work. I don’t want to work. I want to go race and run up front.”